Where can you experience “Oklahoma Terroir”? None other than Nonesuch in OKC, Oklahoma. A small city that is rarely celebrated, OKC is not necessarily known for its food scene. Nonetheless, it exists and is thriving – and Nonesuch is perhaps the crown jewel of them all. Offering a 10-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings, Nonesuch provides an incredible experience that shows you exactly what real, high-quality Oklahoma dining is all about.
Of All Oklahoma City Restaurants, Nonesuch Is The Most Celebrated – And For Good Reason
Any foodie traveling to OKC who does their research will come across Nonesuch. If any restaurant in the city is worthy of a Michelin star nomination, it’s this one. Bon Appetit magazine even declared it as America’s Best New Restaurant in 2018. Nonesuch focuses on local, seasonal food that is incredibly inspiring and successfully showcases what the state has to offer.
The 22-seat restaurant feels intimate and allows for an exciting view into the kitchen. The shelves are stocked with spices and house-made pickles of any fruit and vegetable you can imagine.
Every Course at Nonesuch Tells a Story That Inspires
With a menu that changes regularly to accommodate dietary preferences, the season, and what’s available, every dining experience at Nonesuch can differ. Every meal blew me away (some were especially amazing thanks to the wine pairings, but more on that in a moment), with a few that will stick with me for a very long time. Without spoiling too many courses (in case they choose to prepare the same for your own visit!), I have to gush about my absolute favorites.
To start, we had a soul-warming smoked borscht. The beet flavor (and color!) was incredible. Topped with a few drops of allium oil and nasturtium leaves, this dish is the perfect introduction to the evening. You sip it directly from the bowl and immediately feel like you’ve drank a hug.
A few courses later, we receive the perfect expression of spring. A fava bean based dish in a savory stock with pickled white wine grapes, green garlic, lemon-thyme, fava bean blossoms, and a fantastic New Zealand spinach. This NZ spinach has delightful citrus notes to it and the whole dish just screamed “spring”.
The wine pairing for this dish – a dry example of the Furmint grape from Tokaj, Hungary – totally transformed the flavor. It suddenly tasted like I was enjoying a crisp green apple.
The interaction between the food and the wine was so incredible. The sommelier, Clayton Bahr, is exceptionally talented.
I about lost my mind on the final savory course – a simple Portobello mushroom with a tomato and tamari sauce, covered in a smoked white cheddar cheese. It sounds so uncomplicated that it might sound crazy that this dish blew my mind to the extent that it did. Nonetheless, the flavor positively shocked me.
I have never had a Portobello mushroom that tasted this beautiful in my life – and I’m not being hyperbolic. Not to mention, it tasted better than any piece of meat I can remember eating. Who says vegetarians don’t eat good food?! Just when I thought the meal had peaked, the next course came out.
Something I love about Nonesuch is that they transition the diner from savory courses to dessert via a “tea and snack” course. I love tea almost as much as I love wine so I was especially eager for this course going into the meal. When the plate was first set in front of us, I actually wasn’t too expectant. It looked beautiful, but I assumed it was going to be similar to something I’ve already tasted.
A ginger, blueberry, and mint chilled tea with Madagascar vanilla bean canneles sounded amazing but each individual component was something I’d seen before in some fashion. I had enjoyed this sort of herbal tea before and love a good canele. If you don’t already see where this is going…let me clearly state that this course genuinely altered my life. The crust of the canneles was so perfectly crisp and caramelized, while the center was moist, soft, and so full of pure vanilla flavor. The vanilla bean and caramelized flavors of the crust complemented the spice from the ginger and the inherent yet subtle sweetness of blueberry in the tea in a way that words simply won’t do justice.
Reserve Wine Pairings Elevate Each Course To An Unbelievable Level
Nonesuch offers a basic wine pairing option as well as a “Reserve” wine pairing option. I hesitated for only a moment before choosing the Reserve option, and I have never been happier about a decision. I’ve enjoyed a traditional 13-course kaiseki at n/naka and dined at other Chef’s Table restaurants like The Grey, Osteria Mozza, and Dario Ceccichi’s restaurant in Tuscany. To say I’ve enjoyed some great meals would be putting it lightly, but I can honestly say that Nonesuch had some of the best wine pairings I’ve ever had. The wine selections did more than just pair well with the food – they transformed the dishes. The wines were also bottles that I had never heard of before as well as expressions of varietals that are pretty uncommon.
I especially loved this Sangiovese (the main grape in Chianti wines) that was grown in Texas. Texas! As we gushed about how excited we were to try a Sangiovesess from Texas, the server told us that some guests are so particular about their wine that they won’t even try it. Here’s a simple tip: don’t be such a wine snob that you sleep on this incredible Texan Sangiovese (I can’t believe I’m writing that). If I ever find an opportunity to buy a bottle of this wine, I’m doing it – I can’t wait to share it with everyone I know. I may even be brainstorming a vineyard trip to Southhold Farm to experience what this winery is all about…
I was also really intrigued by the Furmint from Tokaj, Hungary that I mentioned above. I was already familiar with the sweet dessert wine called Tokaji Azsu, but I had only known it to be made in a sweet style. A dry Furmint wine is very uncommon, so I was super excited to be able to experience this unique wine.
Clayton Bahr really knew what he was doing here. Every single course was utterly transformed by his selections. If you snag a reservation, I’d highly recommend the Reserve wine pairings – you won’t regret it.
Unable to get enough, we decided to try Nonesuch’s signature cocktail – a Blood & Honey: Dry Fly High-Proof Bourbon with Hárslevelű reduction, spiced honey, red wine bubbles, and charred juniper.
While enjoying our drink, we discussed a cocktail we had on New Years Eve this past year – a drink that involves a special little herb that is commonly referred to as “buzz buttons”. The herb creates a sort of Pop Rocks (the candy) effect in your mouth, making your lips tingle and go numb in a really fun way.
The server heard us say “buzz button” and immediately grabbed a chilled bottle from the kitchen. A coincidendence to be sure, they keep a buzz button infused liquor on hand in case anyone asks for shots. He pulled out a beautiful slab of wood, three shot glasses – two for us and one for him – and the sensation hit instantly and lasted for minutes.
You probably wouldn’t think to ask for a shot at a place like Nonesuch, but let me be the one to tell you – ASK. This drink is so fun and they do it so well, it’s an absolute must to get a shot after dinner!
A Regularly Shifting Tasting Menu Means Every Visit Is Different
I’d be more than happy to relive the exact menu that I enjoyed this past weekend. However, I love that the next time I visit Nonesuch, I’m going to be blown away by new dishes. Anytime I’m in Oklahoma City, I’ll be making a visit to Nonesuch. It’s just that good.
My time in OKC involved a lot of good eating, even beyond Nonesuch. Stay tuned for a guide to some more good eats in the city! Be sure to subscribe and get the guide sent to your inbox the moment it goes live, as well as monthly newsletters with exclusive content.
Have you been inspired to check out OKC?! Let me know in the comments!